What is Play Therapy?
Play therapy includes activities like, puppet play, sandtray, drama (role play), drawing, creating art and playing with toys. Play is an important part of every child’s social, emotional, cognitive, physical, creative and language development. It is fun and enjoyable, and it elevates our spirits and brightens our outlook on life. Play Therapy is the modality most often used with children; however, it has been effectively used with teens, families and adults as well. The language of childhood is play, whereas it would be wonderful if children could simply tell us in a direct fashion what is bothering them it is more common for them to work out their issues through play. A leading authority of play therapy, Gary Landreth said (Landreth, 2002) “Toys work like the child’s words and play is the child’s language.” A child’s behavior is the first thing that adults notice and when that behavior is “bothersome” to the adults a Play Therapist is called to help. I have over 20 years’ experience working with children and families
How long does play therapy take?
The number of sessions varies for each child and this will be discussed at reviews. Allow at least 6-8 sessions to allow your child to build a rapport with me and adapt to the play room It is important to remember that children work through their difficulties at their own pace and I support and respect how each child responds to the process. Often, it takes many weeks to see noticeable changes, and behaviors may become more prominent as the child learns new ways of thinking, understanding and behaving.
Each play therapy session varies in length but usually last about 30 to 50minutes. Sessions are usually held weekly. Research suggests that it takes an average of 20 play therapy sessions to resolve the problems of the typical child referred to treatment. Of course, some children may improve much faster while more serious or ongoing problems may take longer to resolve (Carmichael, 2006; Landreth, 2002).
What can I do to help?
You are very important in supporting your child through the process.
Be consistent an encouraging to your child about attending sessions regularly
Resist the urge to ask your child what they did, as this will put pressure on them to comment on something they may have difficulty understanding themselves.
Please don’t ask your child to ‘be good’ or check that they have been. Therapy is not about being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and your child must feel free to express ‘bad’ feelings in an uncensored way.
Don’t insist that our child tell certain things. It is their time and they must feel free to express themselves at their own pace. Instead tell your concerns to the therapist on a separate occasion.
Play can be messy, and it is helpful if your child can wear old clothes to minimize their anxiety about getting messy/dirty.
During any therapeutic intervention behavior may appear to get worse before it gets better – please tell me if you have any concerns. Please also feel free to ask me any questions throughout the process.
Is everything truly confidential?
Above all, you must be able to trust your therapist. I follow best practices to ensure that your personal information stays private. I never share information about you without your written permission.
As mandated reporters, all therapists are legally required to contact the appropriate emergency services if we have reason to believer that a client potentially presents a danger to themselves or others, or if a minor or an elder is being harmed.
If my teen comes to you, will the parent be included in what is going on?
I believe that parental and family involvement is important for the progress of your teen and encourage participation in the therapy process. However, I also understand the need and right adolescents to have their own safe space in which their privacy is respected. I protect your teen’s privacy the way I respect you as an adult client, but I will work with them to talk to you when an issue arises that is important for you to be aware of.
Of course, I will notify you if we believe that your teen or child is at risk in any way.
What are your payment methods?
Health insurance: Please contact your insurance company to determine eligibility and coverage. I accept United Behavioral Health/Optum. For other insurances, I will provide a Super Bill to submit for out-of-network benefits/coverage.
Health Savings Accounts (HAS) and Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA)
Cash, personal checks and credit cards
What happens if I must cancel?
I ask that you contact me within 24 hours of the appointment time if you are unable to make if for your scheduled session.
Sessions that are not canceled or rescheduled at least 24 hours in advance will be billed in full to the client. The reason for this is that I hold the session for you and if you do not show up, it takes the time from someone else who needs a therapy session.
How do I prepare for my first visit?
Have your insurance card handy when you call as I will need to verify your benefits before your first visit.
You will be asked to complete confidential forms which I will send directly to your email address. You can also click on the links on the Getting Started tab, complete and print out to bring to the parent intake. Your brief answers about your reasons for seeking therapy and your child’s medical history will help me get to know your child better and prepare for your visit.
If you are having a problem completing the electronic forms, please call and I will provide further instruction.
Please bring the following items to your first visit: insurance card(s), photo ID, and payment or co-pay.
I look forward to seeing you soon!